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Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme

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The conversion into a museum

The conversion into a museum The conversion into a museum

In June 1993, the winners of the museum design competition, architects Catherine Bizouard and François Pin undertook the building’s interior reorganisation, assisted in both the conception and implementation phases by architect Loan Mai.

The building has three wings around a courtyard, with a large garden at the back. The adjacent stables became part of the museum. However, the museum project necessitated the creation of additional space beneath the courtyard, the excavation of which was preceded by archaeological digging.

The museum entrance is in rue du Temple. The visitor lingers first in the main hallway, visible from the street outside the main door. Situated at the crossroads of the museum’s various itineraries, it leads to the reception area, the bookshop, the tea room and the main staircase leading to the permanent collections.

The museum’s open-plan ground floor reception area provides access to the vaulted cellars, the auditorium beneath the courtyard, the children’s workshop, the permanent collections and the temporary exhibitions.

The media library and the museum’s administration occupy several storeys of the rue du Temple wing and the stables. Temporary exhibitions, at present located at the end of the permanent collection, will soon be housed in larger spaces in the stables.

The permanent collections are on the first and second floors of the North and West wings.

The museum design’s premise is the continuous contrast throughout the museum of historic architecture (the restored mansion) and contemporary materials and furniture. The original, historic space and contemporary intervention should be perceived as distinct entities. The constraints of a museum have, however, necessitated the building of new staircases.

Since the collections are comprised of numerous objects, documents and textiles, the museum design has had to include a large number of display cases. The wall displays face the windows in the north wing and are situated between the roof timbers in the attic.

The central, free-standing display cases and the reading desks guide the visitor throughout the itinerary. Although the materials used remain constant – metal cases with wood panelled backs against plastered walls or the opposite, cases with a plastered rear set in wood panelled walls – the cases’ wide variety of forms is dictated by their content.
The 20th century collection is exhibited in a series of contrasting spaces, alternating between spacious and intentionally reduced. The mansion’s original use of intermediate floors, which has been partially preserved, has allowed the creation of mezzanines and two spaces two storeys high.

Among Catherine Bizouard’s and Francois Pin’s other projects :

  • The Louvre : the Italian and Scandinavian sculpture rooms, the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Antiquities rooms and the Copt and Roman Period Egyptian rooms.
  • The François Truffaut library, Petit Quevilly
  • The Musée d’Art sacré du Gard, Pont Saint Esprit
  • Renovation and refurbishment of the extension to the Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris.
  • Design of the presentation space of the Jewish List at the Mémorial du Martyr Juif Inconnu / Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, Paris.
  • Renovation of the interior of the Paul Delouvrier Pavilion, Parc de la Villette, Paris.
  • Renovation of the Musée Chintreuil, Pont-de-Vaux (Ain).

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